My question involves collection proceedings in the State of: Missouri
My father passed away September 5, 2010. My mother survived my father. They were married for 61 years. My father and mother had separate health care policies. My father's health care, both the primary and Medicare took care all but my father's out of pocket/copay which was $3400.00. The medical bills are have been arriving in my father's name only to my mother where my parents lived when my father was alive. My father has no assets. The home is paid for, was jointly theirs with both names on the deed, my father's truck was not paid for and was sold (Also was in both parents names), my mother's car is not paid for but she's keeping it and paying monthly payments on it (Both names on the car, both names on the title). My mother lives half a block from me. I am her DPOA and Personal Representative on her Last WIll and Testament, as I was also my father's DPOA and Personal Representative on his last will and testament. My mother and father had two joint bank accounts, one savings and one checking, both have been changed , with my father's name taken off and my mother's and my name put on. Here in MO, we had a bad storm with a lot of damaging wind/hail. I helped my mother place a claim on her home. The roof, shed, siding, patio cover, awnings, and carport were all damaged from the hail and wind, so her insurance wrote her a check , which she deposited into the bank account in hers and my name. She recently got her new roof put on with almost half of the money the insurance gave her. Her home insurance didn't give her enough money to replace/repair everything that they totaled, but she's going to spend as much of it as she can on what she thinks is most important to fix the home, and the roof was first priority. Ok, here's the deal. She is getting the $3400.00 worth of bills in my dad's name from his separate insurance he had. There are only three bills, and one has gone to a collection agency. We have been told she IS responsible and also told she ISN"T responsible. She never did sign any paperwork taking responsibility for my father's medical bills. The collection agency calls me now because I told them they just upset my mother by calling her home and asking to speak to my deceased father. They are telling me that she is responsible for my father's medical bills per Missouri State Law , the "Necessaries Law", where is a spouse dies, then the other spouse is responsible for the deceased spouses medical bills. There is no estate for my father. I was told by my parent's lawyer that the home (which is paid for and in both of my parents names is now my mothers and is not an asset of my father's), Is this true? Also, my mother's car, the same thing, it is in both of their names, not paid for, but she is paying for it and was told it goes to HER, not my father's asset now that he's deceased. There was NO life insurance. The bank accounts are not in my father's name. There are no IRA's, CD's, no nothing, no estate of my father. Only medical bills coming weekly to my mother with only my father's name on them, because he had his separate insurance policy. Is my mother "by Missouri State Law" responsible for my father's medical bills despite all of the above information. I need to know , so I can know what to do and say to these collectors. Can they sue my mother or me? Since I am my mother's Personal Representative and DPOA and my father's Personal Representative in his Last Will and Testament. Just checking. Need the right answers because we are getting conflicting stories, Yes or NO??????? This is why we've put off paying these medical bills for my father because we feel they are HIS medical bills and unfortunately he's gone, no way to collect from him on these. My mother's only income is her Social Security monthly and I DO know that the SSI is not an asset that Collection Agencies can take away from her. This is all she's got besides the money she has in the bank to fix her home , which she will do one thing at a time and only will be able to replace/repair the amount of damage that the insurance company really paid for because they badly depreciated most of the damages, so even if she gets a few hundred dollars back in Depreciation Value, it won't pay for ALL of the damages, so she has to choose what to replace and what not to replace with the little over half of the amount of replacement cost it would really take to replace everything. The roof replacement took almost half of the money she got for the claim, so she can't even fix the home back to it's original condition. Then she will live off of just a monthly income of hers and only 40% of my dad's SSI which is not assets that can be touched for medical bills. Help!!!!!!!